Step by step guide and considerations before buying an office chair
Are you sitting comfortably? No? Perhaps you need to re-think your office ergonomics. The office chair is, without a doubt, the most important purchase for any office manager who wants to improve productivity, motivation and good health amongst their employees. While it may be tempting to buy the cheapest office chairs available, particularly if you have a lot of staff to seat, in the long run this will be a much costlier solution and could cause serious health problems for your staff.
Office ergonomics revolve almost completely around the office chair. since an employees’ comfort is paramount to creating a good work ethic, and the average employee spends more than 40 hours a week sat in the same chair. Purchasing chairs that are not fit for purpose will result in employees complaining of backache and pain in the shoulders and neck, as well as severely hindering their output, forcing them to take regular breaks as they attempt to loosen up their muscles. A savvy business manager will be aware of the benefits of buying chairs that encourage good posture and comfort, and limit the chances of work-related injuries.
Having said that, the marketplace offers a variety of office chairs in all shapes, sizes and fabrics with all sorts of different specifications and added extras. You can spend your time scrolling through product description after product description without really having a clue about what you should be looking for. Or you can read through our office chair buying guide and become a savvy seating shopper!
Step one: Make a budget (and stick to it!)
Before you start excitedly browsing through websites looking for the perfect office chairs, you need to set yourself a budget. Whether your intention is to furnish a small home office or a large call-centre office with hundreds of staff, having an idea of what you would like to spend will make it a little easier to narrow down your selection and ensure you can afford everything else your business might need. You can either refer to your original business plan, and see how much money you set aside for furniture, or talk to your accountant, who will be able to give you a realistic figure. It is important to remember that this chair is going to be a vital part of office life, and that without it, you may be uncomfortable and less productive. The right chair can actually help you to make money, so you need to try and allocate a decent budget to it.
Sticking to your budget is important. Most people tend to go one of two ways: they will either want to purchase the cheapest products they can, or the most expensive. While it might be tempting to buy the most wallet-friendly chairs, these might not be the most practical. It is highly likely that these will be uncomfortable and only have a few years of service in them before you will have to replace them. Generally, you get what you pay for, and so you should try to purchase the best that you can afford. This may mean that you will need to cut the budget you have allocated to other office furniture, but choosing the right chair is far more important that either the desk or storage solutions. Oddly enough, many employers feel that the biggest expense should be the office desk, but this is just a surface on which to place your work things. The chair on which you sit will be far more important to your working life.
Conversely, it might be tempting to splash out and purchase the most expensive chairs you can find – after all, these are an investment purchase that can actually help increase productivity. But if you can’t actually afford these chairs, your business will suffer in other areas, and that luxurious office seating will become a big regret as you struggle to pay suppliers. Sometimes, the most expensive furniture does not pose the best value, so it is good to look at details before price.
Set a realistic figure, and remember to factor in hidden expenses such as delivery and installation. Many furniture retailers include both in the price if you spend over a certain amount, but make sure to check this before you purchase. Make sure that the price you have agreed for the chairs is the final cost. Some chairs come with optional extras, allowing you to choose whether or not you would like arms or no arms, castors or fixed legs, or extra lumbar support. Any of these additional specifications could push up the price without you realising.
Step two: Talk to your employees
No doubt your employees will have their own views about what makes a comfortable chair, and since everyone is different, you might want to consider buying a few different types of office chair in order to best suit everyone. Ask your employees what types of support they feel they would benefit from, and whether they prefer their chairs with or without arms. Of course, the final decision lies with the office manager, and employees don’t always know what is best for their health, but listening to their requirements will make them feel valued and happy within the workplace. It will also give them the opportunity to let you know of any issues with the current furniture, so you can be sure to purchase chairs that do not have the same problems.
While talking to your employees, it can help to make a small plan as to where each chair will be going. If you already have your desks and storage in place, and are simply looking at replacing your chairs, this may be as simple as calculating how many chairs you need to buy. However, if your purchase of new office chairs is part of a whole new refurbishment, you may need to sit down and work out a floorplan. Remember to include space for doors to open and people to walk through. Ensure there is plenty of room around each chair so that employees can pull them out when required and health and safety requirements are met.
If you have a number of different rooms to furnish, don’t feel you have to buy the same chairs for every room. For example, if you have a main office where your employees are spending eight or more hours a day sitting, then their opinions are important and should be valued. However, they don’t need to have as much input into chairs selected for meeting rooms or welcome areas which are only used for an hour or two once a weekThe type of chair you need in each instance will vary dramatically, both in style, ergonomics and price. Each chair has a function, and you will need to consider its individual use and purchase accordingly. You will probably want to spend a lot less on chairs that are used less often.
Step three: Consider all specifications
Once you have agreed your budget and had some input from your employees, it will be time to start looking at the chairs themselves. It is important to get some idea of what you want from your chairs, and there is an awful lot to consider, including:
Suggested hours – Most office chairs come with a recommendation as to how long an employee can comfortably sit on them in one stretch. If yours is an office that requires its staff to sit for ten or more hours straight, then you should look for chairs that will accommodate this time scale. They will usually have more ergonomic specifications, and will possibly be at the higher end of the cost spectrum, but in the long run they will be worth the money, as they will help to preserve the health, comfort, and therefore the output, of your employees.
However, if your staff spends very little time at their desk each day, it would be wasteful to spend extra money on a chair with all these bells and whistles. You can afford to choose a chair with a shorter number of suggested usage hours, although you should still err on the side of caution and assume that your employees will sit for longer than you think they will.
Material – Office chairs come in a variety of materials, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The most popular chairs are usually fabric-covered chairs, since they are fairly comfortable and reasonably priced compared with some other options. Most fabrics are breathable, preventing the user from getting too hot.. While better grade fabrics will cost more, they will generally last a lot longer than lower grade fabrics and are often treated with a stain-resistant chemical that makes it easier to keep them clean. Choose a chair like the Fully Loaded Comfort Ergo Operator Chairs which comes in a range of colours and offers ergonomic adjustability to suit many different users. . You might even choose to purchase fabric-covered chairs in fun and funky patterns if this suits your workplace environment, but don’t forget that these designs must be low-priority compared with the comfort and practicality of the chair.
However, few materials are as easy to wipe clean as leather, and there is no doubt that this executive finish gives a much more stately appeal to a room. Leather chairs like the Humanscale Freedom Leather Task Chair With Headrest are high quality and stylish, and much less likely to harbour dust mites than other options. Bear in mind that they are sensitive to changes in temperature, meaning that users may feel extra hot and sticky in warm seasons and cold to the touch on cooler days. If the user is intending to stay seated for much of the day, leather might not be the best material for them. However, if you are intending to create an office that looks successful and executive, and your staff are only sat at their desks for a short period of the day, leather could well be an ideal choice.
If you like the idea of leather, but cannot justify the cost, there are other options that look just as smart but are a little cheaper. Leather-faced chairs are upholstered in leather on the seat and backrest with matching faux leather back and sidesWhile these will not last as long as proper leather-crafted chairs, which will last a lifetime if well cared for, they are a wallet-friendly option if this is the look you desire. Just be sure to look for one that is well padded, like the Cadiz Chrome Leather Faced Manager Chair, Leather-faced sofas like the NEXT DAY Alvar 2 Seater Leather Faced Sofa are actually an excellent option to use in reception or waiting areas, since they create a professional and welcoming look and are not in use as regularly as other office chairs, meaning they will last a little bit longer. You may also choose to place leather-faced chairs in conference or meeting rooms for the same reason. Take a look at the Abbey Leather Visitor / Boardroom Chairs which will fit right into any meeting room.
Recently, there has been a surge in popularity for mesh-backed chairs. This has come about as awareness of ergonomics has increased, and this material promises support and breathability at an affordable price. Do we really want to be saying this? IN addition to breathability, mesh textiles are designed to mould around the individual, accommodating users of different sizes, ideal for accommodating a diverse workforce. If you decide that mesh chairs are the right choice for you, consider a chair like the Ergo-Tek Mesh Manager Chair which comes in a range of colours that are sure to brighten up the workplace.
Finally, you might choose to purchase plastic chairs. While these are certainly the thriftiest option, they do not tend to offer the support required for employees working long hours, and are rarely adjustable. However, plastic chairs like the Jura 4 Leg Polypropylene Chairs are ideal for canteens, as they are durable and easy to wipe clean. They are also stackable, and so can be stored out of the way when not in use.
Adjustability – There is no ‘one-size fits all’ when it comes to choosing office chairs, so having the option to be able to adjustthe settings on the chair makes it easier to ensure uniformity throughout the workplace, while allowing employees the opportunity to customise their seating to suit their needs. Look for chairs with gas lift adjustment that allow you to set the seat higher or lower as required. An employee should be able to sit with their feet comfortably placed on the ground in front of them, so the option to adjust the height of a chair is invaluable. It might also be useful to be able to adjust the seat back, so that the user can recline if needed, in order to achieve the perfect body angle that helps to open up the chest and encourage deep breathing, or extend it to ensure they can rest their head comfortably. Chairs with a seat slide offer adjustment of the seat depth to the users body essentially fitting the chair to each individual. It is also worth looking out for a chair that allows you to move the arms, as this ensures it will always fit underneath the desk. The Origin 24 Hour Designer Mesh Office Chair With Headrest has lots of adjustable features that will make it easy to work ergonomically.
Having the option to adjust as many parts of the chair as possible is even more important if it will be used by more than one person. But it will become tiresome if those people have to change the settings every time they sit down, so look for the simplest adjustment systems possible, in order to save time messing about with the chair before work.
Durability – For most businesses, durability is a key factor in the buying process. Unless you are the kind of company that is intending to have closed up shop in a few years, you will want chairs that will last a lifetime, or as close as possible to it. You certainly won’t want them collapsing on you after six months of use.
Unfortunately, this is usually related to the amount a chair costs. Cheaper chairs will have cheaper frames and lower quality fabric which is more liable to rips and sagginess. Metal frames tend to last longer than their plastic counterparts, while leather, mesh and high grade fabrics will fair better than foam or fibres with a low thread count. If you’re just starting out and have no choice but to buy the cheaper chairs, remember that you will more than likely need to replace these chairs at some point in the near future. And then ask yourself if it is worth adjusting your budget in order to get a better value product. Unfortunately, most of the time, you really do get what you pay for.
Durability is a key consideration when purchasing office furniture. If you choose a fabric that is of a lower quality, chances are that at some point it will tear, rip or become worn and this presents a very shoddy picture to a visiting potential client. While they should be judging you on your work and the services you can provide them, unfortunately aesthetics do matter, and you will be faced with the choice of replacing the cheap, ripped chair or living with it and having customers base their opinions on your because of it. Spend a little more on good quality in the beginning, and it will pay in the long run.
Castors – Most office chairs seem to have castors these days, making it easy for employees to get in and out of their chairs without damaging the floor or making that horrible scraping sound as they drag the legs across it. But are wheeled chairs right for your office or would you be better off with four-legged chairs? If the office floor is carpeted, it might not be so easy for the user to move a chair with wheels, particularly if it has a thick pile, and in this case, a chair like the Devonshire Wooden Frame Stacking Armchairs might be the best option. However, these are usually better for conference and meeting rooms where your employees won’t have to spend the entire day struggling to reach things across the desk. To prevent arm fatigue from over-stretching, wheeled office chairs are usually best, but you can look for castors that are better suited to your floor type. Hard castors come as standard on most office chairs, as these are ideal for helping the wheels to push through a thick carpet. Meanwhile, soft castors are better for hard wood floors, since they won’t scratch the floor.
Some chairs give you the option to purchase either type of castor, so that you could have the same chair for different floor types, if needed. Take a look at the Boss Design Lily Office Chair or the Komac Felix Mesh Task Chair, which both come with lots of customisation choices to ensure your chair fits your personal specifications. Another way to get around this is to purchase a chair mat, like the Hard Floor PVC Chair Mats Rectangular, which will help to protect the floor and prevent chairs with hard castors from rolling too far. You can also get mats for carpeted floors, like the Low Pile Carpet PVC Chair Mat Rectangular, which helps to protect the carpet from wear and tear caused by the chair rolling backwards and forwards on it.
It is also worth taking note of the type of base that these castors are attached to. Generally, chairs with a five-star base, such as the Alpha 24 Hour Ergonomic Task Chairs , are more stable than those with a four-star base.Chairs with a swivel base allow more manoeuvrability which is ideal if the user is likely to be turning around a lot to reach filing cabinets or other storage behind them. Even if they only need to reach in the drawer next to them, or the other end of their desk, including a swivel base on your chair will help to prevent your employees damaging their backs as they try and reach across a static chair.
Support – In order to help your employees stay comfortable for long periods of time, the type of support a chair offers is extremely important. At the very least, you should choose a chair that provides lumbar support since the lower back is the first part of the body that will start to feel the strain of leaning forward over a computer desk all day, and if this back pain is not addressed it can turn into sciatica. Once this debilitating pain has taken hold of a person, it will be difficult for them to continue working, and they may try to claim compensation for their workplace injury. If you have a lot of employees, chances are that they will have a variety of different body shapes, and the same lumbar support might not suit everyone. The back should feel supported, without restricting movement in the arms and shoulders. Luckily, there are chairs that provide adjustable lumbar support so that the user can adapt it according to their shape. The Deluxe Air Lumbar – Large Fully Loaded Operator Chair With Posture Sprung Seat provides inflatable lumbar support and also has a pocket sprung seat pad that helps to improve posture while seated. You can also purchase lumbar support cushions separately if the chairs you choose do not have it as a standard fixture.
Look for chairs that have a curved backrest, particularly at the base, as this mirrors the shape of the spine. This is actually a common trait of many office chairs, including the Tanis Bonded Leather Manager Chair, making it easier to factor into your purchasing decisions.
Remember that those employees with larger frames may not feel comfortable in standard office chairs, even if they are completely ergonomic. In these cases, you may need to look for chairs with wider bases, such as the Citadel 27 Stone Heavy Duty 24 Hour Leather Faced Manager Chair, which gives the user more room, while still helping to maintain posture. Even if you do not currently have any employees that you feel would benefit from such a chair, it might be worth having one or two tucked away so that any newcomers or guests do not have to feel awkward about asking for a larger chair.
Padding – Look for chairs with plenty of padding, like the Aston Synchronous Fabric Manager Chairs, , to ensure that your employees won’t be able to feel the base of the chair through the fabric. A thinly padded chair won’t offer enough support to the user, and the hard base will eventually start to feel painful. As we know, an employee that is uncomfortable won’t work as hard, and so if you purchase the wrong chair, you could actually help to lower productivity and cost the business a lot of money.
Some chairs provide memory foam padding, which tends to last longer than other types of foam and is more comfortable. Consider the Physio Mid Back 24 Hour Ergonomic Task Chair for padding that moulds to the shape of the user.
Contouring – Whether or not you choose to introduce contoured seats to your workplace will depend heavily on the preferences of your staff. Many seats are shaped to better fit the curves of the body, aiming to add support to those sitting in them. However, as there is no such thing as the average person, for some people, these chairs are actually more uncomfortable. If possible, it might be wise to pick a few chairs that match, but give you the option to add contouring to some, and not to others. This should then help you to cater for everyone, particularly if you have followed the advice presented in this guide so far, and spoken to your employees so you know roughly how many of each chair to buy. The Humanscale Liberty Task Chair is an excellent choice of contoured seating, since the pieces are modular and easily replaced as they wear out, saving you the hassle of buying a new chair if the fabric fades or a small piece breaks.
This is an important consideration for all employees, but particularly those that might sit near a window, radiator or air conditioning system. A breathable fabric will maintain a regular temperature which will keep the user feeling comfortable as they work. However, most leather chairs, while they look and feel lovely, tend to absorb the heat or cold air, so that the user can either feel hot and sticky, or too cold when they first sit down. Most fabric chairs have a level of breathability, but the best office chairs for this purpose are those with a mesh back, such as the Cologne Mesh Manager Chair , which allows air to flow freely through the chair without affecting the temperature of it.
Arm rests – If you ask most people if they would like their chair to have arm rests, they would usually nod in affirmation, and actually they are a pretty standard feature of most office chairs. However, these can become a real bug bear if the employee needs to sit closely to their computer monitor and the armrest prevents them from doing this as it jams into the desk. Look for chairs with arm rests that are adjustable both horizontally and vertically (known as 3D arms) so that they can be pushed outwards or pulled closer for comfort, like the Pledge Tas Medium Back Custom Task Chair With Arms, or have employees test the chairs out before purchasing, to see if the arm rests would fit neatly under the desk if the chair is set at a comfortable height. If you choose to purchase a chair that does have arm rests, ensure they are padded to avoid putting pressure on the arms, elbows and wrists, and make sure your employees adjust them so that their elbows are able to rest comfortably at a 90° angle. However, if you decide that arm rests would be a hindrance, choose a chair like the Tulip PLUS Fully Loaded Operator Chairs or the 24 Hour Ergonomic Asynchro Air Operator Chair, which both provide ergonomic design without the arms.
Colour – No matter what colour you paint the walls, in a busy office environment it is the furniture that really sets the tone of the room. While the colour of your office chair is unlikely to be the most important factor when making a purchase, it is still something to consider for a professional environment.
Most chairs come in smart, executive colours, like black, brown, cream or dark blue. If this is the look you are aiming for, then try to ensure you keep all chairs the same colour, as it will look odd if you have a mixture in one room. Of course, leather chairs like the Alpha 24 Hour Leather Task Chair have fewer colour options than fabric chairs, which can come in any colour imaginable. So if you are attempting to create a fun, vibrant environment for you employees, a mixture of different colours will certainly give that effect. The Pledge May’B High Back Custom Task Chair comes in ten different colours, which is great if you have a number of different teams all in the same office, as you can allocate a different colour to each team to help create a sense of togetherness.
Step four: Consider all your options
The above specifications may have helped you whittle down exactly what you are looking for in an office chair, but they really only apply to your standard office task chair. There are many different types of chair to choose from, and you need to ensure you pick the one that will work best in your office. And don’t be afraid to look at more innovative and unusual options – they are all part and parcel of being a modern-day workplace.
Types of Office Chair
Office chairs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and so looking at specific categories of chair can help to narrow down your search.
Task chairs, such as the HAG Capisco Puls 8010 Chair, are perhaps the most recognisable office chairs, especially adapted for sitting at a computer, but the term actually covers a very broad spectrum of seating. At the very least, task chairs include swivel,castor wheels and adjustable height lifts, but the higher quality models also include a whole host of the ergonomic features mentioned earlier in this guide. The price range is huge, with few chairs selling for less than £50, but with others that cost over £400.
Executive chairs, like the Athens Executive Leather Faced Office Armchair , are usually a bit bigger and more luxurious than standard task chairs. (this information is not accurate) They work best in manager’s offices, where they help to highlight the position of the user, and prices start from around £99 but it is possible to find super high-quality chairs that cost as much as £1,000.
Drafting chairs, like the Poly Draughtsman Chair, are designed for use with taller sketching desks, and often feature a foot rest to ensure ergonomic sitting even when the feet are raised off the floor. These are perfect if you have an office that works with sketching tables, but are completely redundant at your typical computer desk.
Conference chairs provide short-term comfort for meetings but lack any ergonomic features or adjustable settings. Something like the Swift Chrome Frame Conference Chairs (4 Pack) is ideal for times where you need to gather employees round for a short talk, but not practical for long-term office use.
In waiting areas or breakout rooms, you might consider placing a sofa, such as the Bombay Reception 2 Seat Sofa. This creates a lovely, welcoming feel to a room, but be careful not to purchase a couch that is too low. While you want guests to feel relaxed in your business, you do not want them to struggle with rising up out of the chair, as this is ungainly and will actually make them feel very self-conscious.
Different ways of sitting
When you think of an office chair, you are most likely thinking of the traditional seat that has a back and a seat and either four legs or castor wheels. But there are other, more contemporary, maybe even futuristic designs that might fit into your workplace better.
Consider, for example, a Kneeling, or Balans, chair, such as the Contract Gas Lift Kneeler Chair, which requires the user to assume a kneeling position while working at their desk. This takes all the strain away from the lower back and helps to readjust the spine for a better posture. All the pressure on the legs and hips is completely removed. The user’s thighs are positioned at a 60° angle and a bar is usually placed in front of the knees in order to prevent them from slipping off the chair.
Kneeler chairs are designed to improve posture and engage core muscles while sitting. Some sitters may find it awkward getting in and out of the chair, and may miss the manoeuvrability that comes from a traditional chair with wheels. However, when used in conjunction with a conventional office chair, employees can choose to sit in a range of positions throughout the day which should almost completely eliminate any chance of strain or office injury.
These chairs are crafted to make the user feel as though they are sat on the saddle of a horse. There are no backrests to lean against, and the hips and knees are positioned at a much wider angle than that of traditional office chairs, with the whole body sat around 25cms higher. The theory is that this style of sitting helps to mimic the natural ‘s’ shape of the spine, and so it should help to reduce shoulder and back strain. If this style of seating appeals to you, take a look at the HAG Capisco Puls , which comes in a choice of colours and upholstery options.
Look for saddle chairs on which you can adjust the height and tilt of the seat, and some even have arm and wrist supports.
So this might seem to be an odd thing to include in a guide about office chairs, but it is worth mentioning, since it might be something that you wish to consider. You could save an awful lot of money on office chairs if you decided to invest in a standing desk such as the Commerce II Sit-Stand Rectangular Desk They have been very successful in some offices.They put less strain on the back and encourage employees to stand up straight, improving their posture. There is also an argument that suggests staff are more productive when they can alternate between sitting and standing positions. Regular movement helps fight fatigue making it easier to focus on work tasks, improving focus, mood, and productivity levels. There may be some staff that will object to standing desks, such as those who are slightly older or who have knee problems, but if you can convince some staff to convert to the standing desks then you could see an increase in motivation and morale.
Step five: Know exactly what is expected of you
The term “ergonomics” has been used a lot in this guide, and it refers to the science of work, and how a work environment places strain on the human body. There has been a lot of research into the topic, which has enabled manufacturers to create office furniture that benefits the health of office employees. The UK government recommends that office workers are able to sit a certain way to maintain their health. They should be able to place their feet on the floor in front of them without effort, and without feeling the chair pressing on the back on the thighs, as this will restrict blood flow and cause legs to feel tired, and even numb, which is why adjustable seating is so popular. If you have not chosen a chair with this function, it is vital that you invest in a footrest to ensure ergonomic stability, such as the Hag Quickstep Footrest which has a curved base to encourage circulatory flow and stretch the muscles during use. The employee should be able to sit up straight against the back of the chair in order to feel the benefits of lumbar support, they should be able to rest their arms on the desk in front of them at a 90° angle, and the centre of the computer screen should be at eye level. The employee should be able to get as close to the desk as necessary whilst still sitting back against the chair for their comfort, and in this case, arm rests can often be a hindrance unless they are easily adjusted. The back needs to be well-supported, and so the chair should come up to the shoulder blades, or higher if possible.
While a good ergonomic chair won’t help to cure any back pain issues you or your employees may have, it can certainly help to reduce pressure, thereby alleviating pain. Sitting for long periods of time is not considered good for anyone’s health, but an ergonomic chair can help reduce the impact this can have on the body and prevent chronic issues building up.
Even if you are only purchasing a chair to be used in your home office set-up, you should consider the ergonomics of the furniture, since your health is just as important as that of employees in a busy office. After all, if you regularly work from home but then you start to suffer with debilitating back pain, you will have to stop working in order to prevent aggravating the injury. While some things can be overlooked when you are only shopping for yourself, your health should still be a priority.
Step 6: Keep your chairs well-maintained
The better care you take of your office chairs, the better care they will take of your employees. Keeping them clean and well maintained will also ensure a professional office appearance. The fabric used to create your chair will determine the cleaning method you should use. Get this wrong, and you could end up completely ruining your expensive, ergonomic seat.
Minor stains on leather chairs can be wiped with a damp cloth, but regular maintenance should be carried out using specialist leather products. Fabric chairs should always be treated as soon as a stain appears, using a damp cloth and mild detergent. Take care not to saturate the fabric. Both leather and fabric chairs should be kept out of direct sunlight to keep the materials looking their best.
Many chairs have a metal, chrome or wooden frame, and this needs to be treated slightly differently to the fabric of the chair. These frames should be lightly dusted regularly, but when a deep clean is required, a mild detergent and a damp cloth will bring the frame to a shiny finish. Also, keep wood away from sources of extreme temperature such as radiators or air conditioning vents, as these will give the wood a warped effect.
Every six months it is a good idea to give your chairs a quick check-over for loose nuts and bolts, or defective rollers and cracks. It is a job that should only take a few seconds if everything is fine, but if there is anything wrong, picking up on it before an accident happens makes it a worthwhile task.
When you see an office chair that catches your eye and seems to tick all your metaphorical boxes, make sure you take a look at the reviews left by previous customers. These offer an honest insight as to the suitability of these chairs, and chances are that if someone else has had a problem with them, then you will too. Of course, if all you can see are glowing, positive reviews, then you know there is unlikely to be anything wrong with your choice.
Be sure to consider your supplier too. While the same chair could be sold by numerous different retailers, the sales process could vary considerably depending on where you buy it from. Some furniture dealers will be happy to include a lifetime guarantee and free installation, while others will charge extra for these privileges. Even the guarantees that are offered might not be all they seem, as they might not cover issues with the fabric or moving parts – so make sure you read the small print before paying extra for this. And if someone recommends a supplier to you, then it is wise to take their advice, since most people are difficult to please, and will only give praise where it is due. Take a look at their after-sales service policy, which will advise you as to whether you will be able to ask for any help should something go wrong with your chairs, or there is a fault with one of them. The way a company deals with complaints and customer care is almost more important than the way it deals with sales, since they do not earn any money from their after-care service, but they are able to build a solid reputation on it.
Finally, don’t forget to see where you stand in regards to returns, should you order too many chairs or simply change your mind about your order. Even if you have tested out your chair before buying, once it is actually in the workplace, it might not seem as though it will suit after all. You might want to send the chair back if you have chosen one with arms, and they don’t fit under the desks, or maybe you just have a challenging office set-up that requires a certain type of chair that isn’t the one you have chosen.
Remember that in even the most ergonomically designed chairs, employees should be encouraged to take regular breaks to stretch their legs and relax their minds. It will make them more productive in the long-run, since they will return to their desks refreshed and reinvigorated. Health and safety recommendations suggest a 5-20 minute break after every hour of screen time It is also a good idea to encourage employees who sit at a desk for a long time to participate in some sort of regular cardio exercise to keep their circulation working efficiently. Some companies have gyms incorporated into their building, but if this is not an option for you, it may be worth teaming up with a local gym to see if they can offer your employees a discount, or even start some sort of running club before or after business hours. Keep your employees happy and they will work harder and with more motivation to do well, which is only ever good for business.
Office Chair Jargon Busting
Back Height Adjustment: A mechanism that allows the height of the chair back to be raised or lowered to suit the user.
Back Rake Adjustment: A form of recline control that is lockable in several positions.
Multi-Directional Arms: Chair arms that can be adjusted up and down, as well as left and right for the ultimate flexibilty.
Gas Lift Adjustment: A lever that allows the user to raise or lower the height of the seat.
Height Adjustable Arms: Chair arms that can be lowered or raised so that they allow the user to rest their arms at a 90° angle.
Lumbar Support: Extra support at the base of the back that helps prevent lower back pain. Some chairs have adjustable support so that the user can set the level of support that they prefer.
Pivot Arms: These arms can be pushed down out of the way when not required.
Seat Depth Adjustment: The seat can be moved forwards or backwards and locked in a preferred position to suit the size of the user.
Seat Inclination Function: This allows the user to tilt their chair forwards slightly. This helps to prevent the rounding of the lower back and create a larger angle between the thighs and upper body.
Standard Tilt Lock: Allows the user to tilt the chair backwards and usually locks in a vertical position.
Weight Tension Control – An adjustable setting that works with the user’s weight for a balanced reclining action.